Musical Interlude: A Couple of Bounces with Billie

January 31st, 2014 at 4:49 pm

There’s an old Charlie Parker blues ditty called Billie’s Bounce, and I’d like to share two exemplary versions of it.

First, there’s this Max Roach quarter version, featuring George Coleman on sax.  Listen to the way Coleman weaves through a few choruses.  What’s particularly interesting here is that there’s no piano or guitar on the session, kind of unusual for this era.  To my ears, that let’s you hear the pure improvisatory genius of the players, and Coleman in particular rises to the occasion.

But this second version rocks swings my world even more.  It’s George Benson on guitar with Herbie Hancock on piano.  Many folks know Benson as a silver-throated crooner, but after Wes M, he’s one of main men on jazz guitar.  And Herbie is in rare form, especially harmonically speaking, stretching the chords of this little old blues to the breaking point.

Dig the way he and Benson challenge each other when they trade four bar phrases towards the end.

And do not, under any circumstances miss that last weird chord that Herbie lays down at the very end of the cut—pure Herb (at 6:01—you gotta listen carefully for it but it’s worth it).

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4 comments in reply to "Musical Interlude: A Couple of Bounces with Billie"

  1. David Hertz says:

    Thank you!! I knew early Benson was great but
    this is over the top. My wife’s deceased husband
    was given a guitar by George Benson. She enjoyed
    the clip.
    P.S. You’re a pretty fair economist too…….

  2. Larry Signor says:

    My father preferred Max Roach, but both versions go well with cheap bourbon. Thank you for the effort you make on your blog, Jared. You have “juice” many of us lack, tho we see the world in similar terms. THNZ.

  3. Judy Hickman McLain says:

    In 1973, a guitar playing friend of mine gave me a copy of The New Boss Guitar of George Benson (1964 – I think his debut album) and my musical tastes instantly grew up. I wore out the vinyl.

    I follow your blog to learn about economics but admit, for me, it’s better to take the learning with a dose of something sweet- your musical interlude.

    Thanks for this one!